Sri Lanka: Troops open fire to quell unrest over fuel shortages
Four civilians and three soldiers were injured when the army opened fire to quell unrest caused by the worsening economic crisis.
Srilankan officials reported that the military opened fire to quell rioting at a fuel station, as unprecedented lines for petrol and diesel formed across the bankrupt country.
On his account, army spokesperson Nilantha Premaratne stated that troops fired on Saturday night in Visuvamadu, 365 kilometers (228 miles) north of Colombo, as their guard post was pelted with stones.
“A group of 20 to 30 people pelted stones and damaged an army truck,” he said.
Four civilians and three soldiers were injured when the army opened fire for the first time to quell unrest caused by the worsening economic crisis, according to local police.
Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis, with the country unable to import basic necessities most notably food, fuel, and medicines.
The country's 22 million people have been suffering from acute shortages and long lines for scarce supplies, while President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resisted calls to resign over mismanagement for months.
It is worth noting that armed police and troops have been stationed at fuel stations in Sri Lanka.
In April, a motorist was shot dead by police in the central town of Rambukkana during a clash over the distribution of rationed petrol and diesel.
Over the weekend, police reported three separate incidents involving motorists. In one clash, at least six constables were injured, and seven motorists were arrested.
The government announced a two-week shutdown of state institutions and schools in an effort to reduce commuting and conserve the impoverished country's depleting fuel stocks.
In addition, the country is experiencing record-high inflation and lengthy power outages, all of which have contributed to months of protests.
It has also defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is negotiating a bailout with the International Monetary Fund.